Recently Shea Moisture released an ad that was supposed to highlight “hair hate” from a diverse group of women to show that different people experience similar things and we should all come together and do our hair and sing Kumbaya and all that jazz.
Something’s obviously not right here, right? The main demographic that uses Shea Moisture wasn’t pictured until the last few seconds. How many non-black people even use curly pudding, let alone even know what it is? Well, a lot of people have voiced the same concerns loud and proud.
Like everyone else I was all ready to type up what was essentially going to be a long ass rant, but after watching Shea Moisture’s CEO Rich Dennis explain and discuss the situation, my fire has been reduced to a small kindling. All of the points I was totally set to argue were replied to; it was kind of upsetting.
(This was actually one of the most fruitful discussions from The Breakfast Club that I’ve seen.)
So it turns out there actually was a plan to include those who were missing as this was supposed to be a 24-video ad series featuring 24 different women, 20 or so of them with the hair textures and skin tones that were not featured in the initial ad. I wouldn’t call the uproar an overreaction though.
We gotta call a spade a spade and recognize this was a pretty ignorant execution of Shea Moisture’s project. As a “black family owned” business that Shea Moisture still claims to be, you would think they would have enough historical education to know the long lasting trend of darker skinned people being unrepresented in practically everything and the common sense to realize how important it is that we do not perpetuate it. Although Dennis stated that the campaign really wasn’t that deep, maybe taking that extra second to examine the project a little deeper would have kept them out of this mess in the first place.
What really redeems Shea Moisture is Dennis’s apologetic responses. Shea Moisture obviously realizes what they did wrong. While they should’ve have realized the issue before releasing the ad, a company that listens to and grows with its consumers is rare, so maybe Shea Moisture doesn’t have to be cancelled as long as they truly learn from this mistake.
Since we’re on the natural hair appreciation train, why not talk about Solange?
Solange is another celebrity confidently helping keep natural hair appreciation in the spotlight. Rocking what looks like a good ol’ twist out, Solange flaunts her unabashed naturalness on the cover of feminist magazine Bust.
Previews of the editorial shoot (pictured throughout) show Solange against neutral backgrounds in some interesting pieces.
The pieces are minimalist in color and and eclectic in design at the same time, giving the entire set of photos the same vibe. It’s the perfect balance between weird and polished that Solange is known for.
Besides gracing us with her style, readers can also expect to be graced with her words in her article titled “I am a Proud Black Feminist”. Her album “A Seat at the Table” spoke (sang, I guess) a lot of truth, so I can imagine this account will be a refreshing reflection of that same honesty.
This issue of Bust will be available March 28th.
How do y’all feel about this? Leave comments!
First of all, LOOK AT THAT HAIR! Look at it. Observe it. Love it.
Cipriana (above, left) and Takenya “TK” (right) Quann are two sisters who are bringing more awareness to the beautiful capabilities of black hair. Having both previously felt that their hair was a barrier, the sister duo turned their self-created hair confidence into a lucrative, yet socially uplifting platform.
From grade school to the modeling industry, the Quann sisters have felt, like many of us, the resistance to and prejudice towards black hair. Instead of continuing to let it lower their self esteem, the pair decided to embrace their natural state. Along with friend Nikisha Brunson, the Quanns created their blog Urban Bush Babes. Their original intent was to create a place for women of color to feel comfortable with themselves while simultaneously dismantling derogatory stereotypes. The two have been making moves and turning heads ever since.
In a time when black people’s hair is still misunderstood and chastised by a large part of society (remember when the U.S. government banned dreads for it’s employees?), it is important that people like the Quann sisters have a big platform. Representation plays a big role in social acceptance. Personally I’ve never seen natural black hair this long nor did I think those lengths were even possible. Let’s not forget the ignorant, but widely believed sentiment that black people’s hair just doesn’t grow at all (I can’t tell ya how many times I’ve actually heard this). The majesty of the Quanns’ hair makes it extremely difficult, to further believe anything negative about black hair and that’s the kind of inspiration we need.
Here’s a few more pictures because, why not, the Quanns are fantastic.